23 Feb Limarí – White Gold, Black Gold
The title of this article came to my mind remembering Black Cat, White Cat, the hilarious film by Emir Kusturica. But on this occasion, I don’t intend to comment on movies, oil, or lithium, which we could currently consider Chile’s white gold. Today I want to talk about sparkling wines. In particular, about our Extra Brut made with Chardonnay grapes from the Limarí Valley.
Considering that many of the world’s most famous sparkling wines originate in limestone sectors, could these soils be considered white gold in the world of wine? Probably not, but they come close. In my opinion, a great wine depends on many other factors. And I also think it is important to keep in mind that not all varieties thrive well on soils with a high content of calcium carbonate. Like Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, which shows its best expression when grown on alluvial gravels with good clay content. But there is no doubt that vineyards grown on calcareous soils are highly appreciated and celebrated. You just need but to recall wines of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Nebbiolo originated in Burgundy or Piedmont, to mention just two regions of great potential.
In our constant quest to experiment with new things, a few years ago Viña Morandé undertook the challenge of producing a high-quality sparkling wine that would also be democratic in price. Our search led us to combine a great terroir, such as the limestone soils of the Limarí Valley, with the modern techniques of the Charmat method. In other words, a wine that would undergo its second fermentation in isobaric vats and allow us to offer a delicious Extra Brut Chardonnay.
It was thus that we managed to achieve a full-bodied sparkling wine with the characteristic chalky character of Chardonnay from Limarí, defined more by its texture than by the sweetness of its fruit. Due to the particular characteristics in their chemical composition, the limestone soils tend to produce grapes with high acidity. This is ideal for the base wines that we use in a shorter pris de mousse used with the Charmat method.
The resulting style is fresher and more direct. In other words, younger. But given its origin on those white soils, it presents a great quality. And it lets us know and allows us to enjoy a type of soil which is scarce and therefore, much appreciated in our country and worldwide.
Winemaker at Viña Morandé